Finland in the New Europe

Finland in the New Europe

Finland in the New Europe

Finland in the New Europe

Synopsis

Jakobson tells the story of a small nation that has emerged a winner from the ordeals of the 20th century. Finland is still widely remembered for its successful resistance against Soviet attempts to subjugate it during World War II, but less is known about the skillful balancing act by which Finns preserved their independence and way of life during the Cold War.

Excerpt

Finland, to whose external relationships in the 80-odd years of its formal independence this book is devoted, is a relatively small country. Its population is roughly that of the state of Massachusetts—about 5 million people. To the extent that its inhabitants are known outside their immediate international neighborhood, they are held everywhere in high respect as a strong and tough people, great soldiers in the defense of their own country, and great athletes. They are widely known for their distinguished contributions to world culture, particularly in the fields of architecture and musical composition.

But when it comes to a more intimate association with other peoples, limitations impose themselves. Finland is in a number of important respects a very distinctive country, set off from others by peculiarities in its experience, situation, and consciousness. For this there are a number of reasons. One is geographic location. the country is tucked away in the extreme northeastern corner of nonRussian Europe, with few immediate neighbors, the borders with these latter running in considerable part through desolate semiarctic regions. Its language resembles nothing spoken anywhere else except in its small cousin-state of Estonia. in many of its outer aspects it would appear to be a Scandinavian country, and indeed in some respects it really is; but here, too, there are significant differences. For all these reasons Finland may be said to have remained a relatively inconspicuous object on the horizons of international life.

Against this background it could be assumed thatning detonations. As the Russian gun teams sweated and swore round the breeches of their cannon, their officers were engaged in the hopeless task of trying to spot the fall of shot through rangefinders, field glasses and telescopes. the very intensity of the barrage nullified their attempts but, considering that Sevastopol had not come under attack from the sea since the Crimean War in 1854, the Russian shooting was very good. the three ships they were firing at were seen to be moving backwards and forwards at speed in an effort to spoil the aim of the gunlayers. Before the pillars of water thrown up by the shore artillery enveloped the ships, those with the most powerful telescopes in Sevastopol would have made out the fleck of red flying over each of the intruders – the flag of the Ottoman Empire of Turkey, which had not been seen on the waters of the Black Sea for the thirty-six years since 1878, when Turkey and Russia had last been at war. the dominant ship of the three could easily . . .

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